Overview of our


Physical Appearance Prediction

This is one of the key areas of research for the Walsh lab. It is our goal to perform fundamental research in an effort to understand how and why we look the way we look. In addition to this, association is clearly not always prediction, we also assess variants for their signifiance in predicting physical traits solely from biological material. Predictive biometrics or forensic DNA phenotyping is a niche in forensic genetics that has opened a new world of possibilites when it comes to DNA analyses. Some current research projects are described below.


Quanititative pigment association and prediction - eye, hair and skin color

Facial Morphology association and prediction

Ancestry Prediction

In this lab, we are interested in Irish surnames to assess if they are names related to the high kings of Ireland and have solid Irish ancestry in their roots or if they have been transplants through the various settlements throughout Irish history, i.e. Viking attacks, the Norman Invasion, etc.

By analyzing the Y chromosome of both common and rare Irish Surnames as well as known ancestral Viking names, we can investigate the distribution of Y haplogroups in each surname and try to group names into certain ancestry categories, i.e. Irish, English, Scottish, or Scandinavian.

As the Y chromosome assesses the patrilineal line, we shall also assess the matrilineal line through mitochondrial sequencing to get a more in depth picture of the make up of Irish surnames currently prevalent in Ireland using genetic material such as DNA.

Research Collaborators :